On Saturday June 20th, 2020, Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry’s family made a non-emergency call to support him in his mental health crisis. Police shot and killed 62-year-old Choudry after arriving at his Mississauga home. He was the third Canadian in a month to be killed after police carried out what’s called a wellness check.
In such past fatal interactions with the police, our plea used to be “No More!” but with this latest death, we must inevitably ask “How Many More?” How many more individuals with mental health or addictions must be killed, how many more families must be destroyed, how many more communities must be devastated, before we reach “No More”!?
What will it take to stop the racist, sanist, Islamophobic, and violent responses of police when interacting with our communities and more importantly our ill and vulnerable members in mental distress?
Across Boundaries joins the families’ demands to know why there was a 3 hour gap from when the police arrived to when Mr. Ejaz Choudhury was killed, why the family’s request to be included in the communications with him was denied, what de-escalation techniques were utilized, and most importantly why the response to subdue a 62 year old mentally and physically frail man escalated to three options of force (CEW, plastic projectiles and discharge of a firearm)? We are left to wonder was it one option of force for each of his identities – Muslim, Mad, and Racialized? For the four children left to grapple with the slaying of their father, Father’s Day will be a constant reminder of how cruelly police violence ended his life. No child should have to live with this. Five years ago, a Coroners’ jury released 39 recommendations in the Andrew Loku inquest. Once again Across Boundaries asks what headway has been made, particularly in the 17 recommendations related to race and policing. Along with others, Across Boundaries supports the calls for a Public Inquiry.
Real change is needed with assurances that the recent deaths of D’Andre Anthony Campbell, Regis Korchinski Paquette and now Mr. Ejaz Choudhry will not be in vain. That there will be justice, reform, and peace.